Monday, August 3, 2009

Why Am I Doing This?

After plunking down a chunk of change on P90X, I'm wondering why I'm bothering with this.  Is the hassle worth it?

I mean, I'm not in terrific shape, but I'm not in terrible shape, either. I stopped running a couple of years ago (I overpronate, which led to knee and ankle issues), and I'm no longer an obsessive-compulsive gym rat. Still, I make sure to set aside about a half hour per day for exercise, and it's rare that I let two consecutive days go by without lifting some weights or hopping on the elliptical. I don't need to shed a ton of weight. I'm reasonably healthy.

And while I pig out at restaurants more often than I should, I'm generally pretty good about watching what I put in my mouth. I avoid fast food "restaurants" (with a rare exception made for In-N-Out and Taco Bell). I chug diet soda -- something I used to think tasted like faintly-sweetened spit -- rather than the real thing (though I know even diet soda's not exactly healthy). At work, I'm a sedentary office drone, but at lunch, I skip the more fatty/salty/sweet offerings at my company cafe; my typical lunch is a Cobb salad (minus the bacon) with dressing on the side. Our household is all about organic food -- we're members of a C.S.A., and get vegetables delivered to us weekly from small, local farms -- and my wife (who has a degree in nutrition science) polices our kitchen for rogue trans fats and HFCS. I try to limit my carb intake, and simple carbs especially.

For my height (or, at 5 feet 7 inches, lack of height), my weight is a respectable 145 pounds, though once in a while -- especially after a week of restaurant meals -- I'll manage to tip the scales at 150. I have a perfectly normal BMI of 22.7. A few years ago (when I was working out twice a day like a maniac), my body fat percentage was down to 7 percent, but I've now worked my way back up to 11 percent.

All in all, I'm healthy and fairly fit. I can do a bunch of pullups and chinups and pushups and all the other stuff at which I failed miserably in elementary school P.E. My blood pressure is fine, and my good cholesterol is totally kicking my bad cholesterol's ass.

So why put myself through the hassle and cost of completing P90X?

I think it all boils down to me wanting to shake up my exercise routine, and to satisfy my curiosity about how far I can push myself. I recognize that I'm not in the best shape of my life right now. I could stand to tighten up, and I know I'm losing strength and muscle tone while I vegetate on the couch, munching on chips. These days, I tire easily, and not just because I have two small children. I snack mindlessly, and at all hours. I'm losing the motivation to exercise. I don't get enough sleep. I grind my teeth. And I just feel like I'm in a perpetual state of torpor.

So I'm going to give P90X a try. According to the handbook accompanying the DVDs, "P90X is an extreme fitness program designed for individuals in top physical condition and health and, therefore, should NOT be attempted by someone who does not meet the minimum fitness requirements outlined in this guidebook." I'm going to take the fitness test in the next day or two and see how I do.